To just be.

I’d like to think I’m aware of each second that ticks by but in the whole scheme of things, time is a concept I fail to grasp and treasure completely– like every other mundane day, it melts into a forgotten blur. Already I can’t remember what I ate this Tuesday. Urgency, on the other hand, is real. More assignments and impending adulthood? What joy! 

It’d almost be completely hopeless if I tried to pinpoint the exact moment when I caught myself spacing out amidst the busy chaos that is the later parts of September and early October. Though I cannot remember when, I remember what I caught myself thinking about subconsciously:

My mind didn’t drift off to a past image or memory, but to a specific sound. For those who have ever travelled in an airplane, I found myself disconnected from the real world, from my body and conscious surroundings and listening to the muted hum of an aeroplane mid-flight – when you’re seated next to the window seat at the wing area, the outside scenery is nothing but blue and there is a certain quiet except for the muffled jet engines outside, working hard and spinning fast, bringing you to your next destination.

Waiting.

I was on my final way back from exchange. I was on my way back to Singapore from an adventure that lasted five and a half months. London to Dubai, Dubai back to Singapore. I was on my way back to friends, family, him. I stayed awake during that 8-hour flight, waves of emotions crashing down on me one after another. It’s the feeling of going back to familiarity, a routine you mastered and perfected, everything will be the same just as you’ve left it. It’s the feeling of leaving something behind, something you once struggled with but eventually accustomed, grew to love too much all too fast. Nothing is the same.

Perhaps it is the nostalgia of exchange, the carefree jet-setter couchsurfing lifestyle, that I subconsciously pine for. That melancholic sound of muffled jet engines – so vivid! – reminds me of flying. I was in the plane on the way back, in between territorial air and land spaces – neither here nor there – I could just be. Just be what? Just be where? Neither. Just be. It brings back such lovingly painstaking memories that was the wonderful half of this year, now drawing to its close. Onto the next one I say. More adventures and life events to come, more achievements to unlock, more tragedies to befall and more lessons to learn.


September has been eventful. The front parts are a little blurry to me but more relatively recent bits are fresh in my mind.

Man. Cat.

His 22nd birthday. Last year’s surprise executed for him (first time celebrating his birthday in our relationship) was a pleasant one, albeit the process was arduous and backfired on me a little so nope, swore off that plan (long story) – decided to send him on a fun little amazing race instead :D, with FOC-inspired clues thrown in the mix. Home to Bounce to Bugis, small decrypting of codes and mini tasks involved.

Boyfriends deserve to be spoilt too. Probably blew half my wallet and midterm out of the water because I dedicated so much time to plan and execute this day rather than study but I regret nothing. Then again I haven’t seen my results yet so maybe

He said he enjoyed it, and that is success enough for me.

Then the weekend came.

PPC2016

Poor photo quality aside – Entered the Public Policy Challenge 2016 alongside Cheryl, Hameed and Thasneem, my incredibly capable teammates. And despite the clashes in trying to come together physically to fulfil the requirements of the Challenge (more essays, readings and case studies galore!) – we pulled through and emerged as one of the four Champions through our essays and presentations.

We honestly didn’t expect to win. Seriously, we didn’t. We did try our hardest and consulted our assigned mentor (Ms Denise Tan, one insanely cool and competent lady) on how our proposed policies would help the state and its people in the coming of the digitised economy, but during all the presentations we felt ours was inadequate and nowhere near their creative ideas that harnessed the full capacity of technology (or, that was how I personally felt).

Imagine our surprise when they called out our names as the final champions. TEAM PASTA FTW! (Lol yes that was our name. Would you rather Team Curry? Cause we love that too.)

All in all, despite the shelving of other responsibilities and commitments to focus on the essay-writing and presentation-preparing aspects, it is a glorious feeling when your hard work really pays off in the end. I have nothing but gratitude to be able to partake in this opportunity – learning more about the public policy processes in Singapore, how the planning and execution goes, objectives at stake. Far from perfect, but always, always looking to improve. My only criticism is the need to take into account Sociology and the unintended consequences of these policies, but one step at a time.

And then, the day after.

Survivors

Hall 4 survivors, gathering for a wonderful cause. It’s times like this that make me miss Hall 4 so much my heart actually aches, and also propels me to want to do my FYP but yes, we gathered. To sing, to dance, to make mirth and merry and joy and help our dearest Sultan create a music video to propose to his own dearest. An honour indeed to be part of something beautiful (holy matrimony wooooo).

Congratulations to the newly engaged, Firdaus and Maisarah! May you two always be happy and full of cheer, courage and love (:

Video here:

Of course, when our Sultan asked we’d jump straight into it. First of our survivor batch to propose/marry – what an honour indeed to be part of this excitement. Have to say though, I’m not too sure when but somehow news of people I knew over social media (seniors, friends etc.) started popping up a lot more and the trend is pretty much almost everyone (of similar or close ages) is getting married or engaged. Well, that sparked a bit of panic in me because it’s really one of those odd situations where half of your friends are single (successful/but not drunk), and the other half are getting married/engaged.

I identify with this so hard. Here I am just praying for adequate employment in the slowing economy… and getting fat eating chocolate.

Climber climb on

Rockmaster. Recess week drew to a close and RM Novice Women competition reared its head with overhang walls and a very terrifying slab. Managed three tops (of which, two flashes) and two bonuses. Except for the slab, the routes were my style and I completed them with relative ease – for someone who didn’t train for two weeks prior because of whatever listed above I’d say it was a good fight and good fun. Though not enough, I think I redeemed myself from the disaster that was Bouldermania where mistake upon mistake cost me dearly in that comp.

Fared much better here, but still need to fight more. Above: Jannah, Clarice, me and Sheryl. Just the four of us representing NTU but somehow competing alongside my seniors calmed me down an awful lot. Must be the super chill aura they exude. To more, Allez.

That was last Friday, and then… Sunday.

Old school

Featuring old school snacks and sweets, soy bean egg tarts, homemade macarons and a beautiful croquembouche (that tower of cream puffs basically), this nostalgic ensemble was present at my cousin’s wedding.

Yep. First of the cousins / Neo bloodline to get hitched (internal panic +330%). It was a simple affair – tea ceremony, ROM and wedding lunch banquet. Nothing too lavish or over-the-top I’d say but it was still a wonderful event nonetheless. Couldn’t be happier for her and her husband who planned the whole event. Spirits were high, people were happy and having fun, stuffed with food and an abhorrent amount of sugar (NOT THAT I COMPLAINED HAHAHAHAHA). One could say meaningful and traditional rituals of the marriage institution.

I wish them (Wei Xin and Dickson) well, happiness and great fortune as they embark on their wondrous lives ahead as a wholesome pair (: 


But (sociology yay!) of course, watching the whole affair from the sidelines (literally, there was nowhere else for me to stand and munch on stuff), weddings in Singapore are a specific privileging device only for heterosexuals. Hearing the ROM solemnizer define marriage in Singapore as between “a man and a woman” suddenly made it hard to swallow. How many more alternative loving couples out there in this country are we ignoring in the pursuance of this stringent definition of “marriage”, that ultimately links to receiving other benefits from the state (e.g. housing, education, healthcare, childcare)? How is it fair people in love are excluded from this institution because of state and social sanctions?

I personally don’t think gay marriage will destroy the world (unless it’s too fabulous for us to handle). There is nothing unnatural about it except for the fact that the sexual organs in either partner are unable to naturally produce an offspring. Even then consider:

(1) the fertility of existing male/female pairs. If a husband and wife are infertile and unable to produce offspring, does it reduce their masculinity and femininity or overall legitimacy of their marriage? Or are these just socially indoctrinated views? And then there’s the alternative of reproductive technology and adoption. How do these affect the purpose of a marriage and what is defined as a family?

(2) The stifling and arguably sexist belief that marriage cumulates in having children (you assume it is a woman’s end destiny to be a mother because of her biological structuring and having a womb? Oh, friend, you are so wrong).

If this loses me a lot of friends or earns me backlash and criticism, so be it. Like why I created this post – to reminisce the hum of jet engines – I’d like to just be. And I’d like to just be sleeping now. 3:10AM woooo.

Boulder city of lights.

I figure I better start updating my own blog despite the fact I’ve been writing. It’s been a very exciting three weeks into my monthlong (and little bit more) adventure into Europe. Covered Fontainebleau, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Stuttgart, Munich so far – currently in Prague chilling in the hostel and not running about at night cause exhaustion from lack of sleep (overnight bus) and early morning day before I left Munich.

I’ve been writing as well though, and it’s nice to get away from technology once in a while to focus on myself, jot down thoughts, hilarity that ensues and the fun adventures and/or mishaps that happen on my European tour. Fun stuff all the way – and the days where there are lack of showers (ick).

Right after the last day of lessons and official teaching weeks, I barely had time to breathe and pack before running off on my European adventure.

Let’s start with Fontainebleau, France, where with the UoE climbing club we drove down to Dover in the UK to take the ferry to Calais in France, before driving down to Fontainebleau. Turned out to be a culture shock for me especially when I realise we drive on the “wrong” side of the road (a.k.a. the left side when Europe drives on the right). It took a while to get used to but I count myself lucky I don’t die when I cross the roads here. But before the ferry ride happened, I ended up staying at one of the member’s parents’ house along with his girlfriend (shout-out to Tom and Lucy you guys are awesome) but that’s when my parental anxiety acted up. I am, however, immensely grateful for their kind hospitality – from feeding to allowing me to sleep in a spare comfy bed (the alarm really jerked me awake). Got my first taste of British/Austrian and parental hospitality but more onto that in another post.

Fun bit: We even drove by the Stonehenge on the way to Tom’s place… Well, don’t need to go there and see that anymore.

And so we arrive at Fontainebleau, where I finally got a real good taste of natural boulders and slabs (loathe/love relationship). Didn’t really manage to bring up my grading above a 4c+ / 5a but topping out (i.e. getting your body on top of the boulder to finish the route) is a remarkably scary experience – you really need to trust your footwork and fingers (of which… I can’t cause slippery and sweaty palms), yet I’m still thankful for the opportunity to get some good bouldering in anyway despite the first few days/half-days of shit, rainy weather (is my French showing?).

12512248_10153549624429856_7647831957324133046_n The campsite – where I woke up every night because it was just too cold for me. Tent overhead, checked.

12936644_10153549619864856_2599755505429313936_n

L’Elephant – one of the many bouldering areas with loads of different climbing grades. Failed to do a 5+ here cause far too reachy for me. But otherwise, got a few other climbs in.

12901225_10209349655243544_6718937431014760546_o

When you try to split like Ashima, but fail spectacularly (still too reachy for me to complete).

12961178_10209349649283395_3067415100448699615_o

12472480_10153549620659856_8501894174993842588_n

That aside, Fontainebleau was super fun. Climbs in the daytime, campfires in the nighttime (unless it’s raining then everyone heads to town or their tents). Somehow I managed to survive on sandwiches throughout my entire Font trip despite sharing cooking equipment and a tent with three other guys (nothing happened. We’re all bros, yo). Too much trouble, might as well enjoy what I have on hand.

And then the week flew by, and it was time for them to depart and head back to the UK and me on my happy Europe adventures. It was terrifying at first for me because I really was afraid of going everywhere on my own for the first time. The usual questions go through my head: Will I be able to get a ticket to Paris? What happens if I’m alone? What if my CS host bails on me? What are my backup plans? The last of which, I didn’t have many of… but Paris worked out in my favour. My very gracious host took amazing care of me, him being my first legit Couchsurfing experience and I am honoured to say it has been a privilege to stay with him.

We went on a 10-hour walking tour of Paris, where my feet were absolutely sore and blistered by the end, but I am terribly happy and satisfied with the city (minus the Louvre that we didn’t explore, otherwise I’d never leave). Just incredibly thankful for his sincere hospitality and willingness to show me and share with me his city and stories. Prepare for picspam with little textual nibbles (as always):

DSC_0002

First stop: Arc de Triomphe

DSC_0010

When in France, eat French.

These macaroons are not as expensive as the brand Laduree, but it was equally as good according to my host. Sure enough – the pistachio almost made me cry because it was so fresh and decadent. No kidding.

DSC_0021

Apparently, one of the most overrated European attractions. It still left me in awe how huge it was though.

DSC_0049

Idyllic streets, Parisans and tourists alike enjoying the wonderful weather dining outside in cafes. The architecture of the city blew me away.

DSC_0063

DSC_0132

DSC_0151

DSC_0204

DSC_0205

You’re waiting for a train.

13043373_10153570339334856_5935128266543634928_n

And (messy I know – I cleaned up afterwards) my host’s bedroom that he let me sleep in because he had to get up early for work the next day and didn’t want to bother me. How sweet of him! Had an amazing rest that night, especially after a weeklong of disturbed and freezing cold sleep in a sleeping bag and tent.

13007126_10153570339444856_6689117323529871482_n

And the breakfast he prepared for me – freshly baked croissants and a baguette I could take along with me for the rest of my journey. So, so kind. (: I count myself immensely fortunate.

Brussels came afterward, but because my feet were so battered I didn’t explore the city much. Also it was rather low-tourist season so I found the city lovely but boring in comparison to the rest. It was still a nice stopover though, but that was Fontainebleau and Paris for you (or rather, me).

23:25 in Prague now. Need sleep. Need to do laundry as well because holy shit I am running out of clothes and they all smell. Never have I thought my hygiene levels would plummet on this trip but something’s got to give I suppose.

Merci again, France. (:

Of city life, rock and chalk

I know. I’ve got an essay due – what am I doing here? Figured I needed to take a break and write about the fun happenings after my previous post (and my, what a while ago that was). In a nutshell, I found myself touching rock more often and encountering the bustling London life in a self-declared-fuck-everything-reading-week-break-thing after submission of my formative essays (of which I’ve come to regret ever so slightly in hindsight now), but I’m still enjoying myself tremendously here (but yeah, the weeklong in London coupled with essay-hell-rush meant a complete and utter depletion of fitness levels prior to coming here – consistency and discipline is key, of which I still have not mastered.

But that aside: Rocky crags and indoor boulder competitions, new friends made and finding/found my place within this larger place… It’s been enjoyable. It still is.

Chronologically, prepare for the visual vomit.

Processed with VSCO with acg preset

Not long after my previous CNY post I came down with a bout of homesickness, to which I cured with googling for answers, talking it out with my other Singaporean flatmates and buying myself a £3.99 world map (little outdated, but it is very pretty). I figure wanderlust would solve uncomfortable and depressing feelings budding within me, and strangely enough it has. Seeing how small Europe is in relation to the rest of the world, and how small I am in the wider scope of things… I’ve got much to do and see in the upcoming days, weeks, months ahead.

Let’s begin with a rocky weekend at Sheffield.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

6b+

Not strong enough to dyno to the top of the rock, handholds too slopey/crimpy to pull myself up to a proper heel hook. I wonder if I was supposed to mantle but aside – Peak District outdoor bouldering in Sheffield. First time I’ve touched natural boulders in a cold and windy outdoors. Completed a few easy climbs, topped out (still fearful) before succumbing to the utter cold and wind. Too much for me it seems – and I was already bundled in four layers and two bottoms.

But it was beautiful nonetheless and makes me psyched for Font that’s coming up in two week’s time.

12783634_1245146625501768_6605241726213331833_o

Scaling up a traverse rote (grade 4). It’s nothing difficult to be honest, but it’s frightening when you’re up there and knowing when you fall there’s nothing below you but spotters and crash pads and proper earth (not the squishy kind you can roughly scrape from with a sprained ankle – the surface is hard enough to properly fracture something). But I took what Clarice said to heart and trusted my footwork – you sure do learn and grow a lot when there’s really nothing but you and the rock. I guess this is where commitment comes in, something I need to work on.

The Peak District trip happened over a weekend, but the night was the fun part cause the University club had its traditional climbing games. My flexibility got me far into the game but not enough for the final round. Stretch more then, and maybe I could grow just the tiniest bit in Ashima Shirashi’s full split-strength movements. Overall I enjoyed myself though, got to meet more people, open up to the others a little more and not feel so awkward with myself around them – they’re all such supportive and friendly people, and that comforts me when I keep putting myself down because of my perceived lack of ability (I’m okay, but there’s still a tremendous lot to improve still).

I need to shut up and not overthink more often.

And then, the next weekend was a beauty of a trip called London. Skipped a good few days of classes to run off to London and become a full-blown tourist. Splurged quite a bit but I’m insanely happy – I can officially tick it off my list (except I haven’t climbed there yet so… soon).

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Binky at the British Museum. I strongly believe you need at least two days to really cover this place. There’s just far too much to see, but I got to see Egyptian Mummies and so many artefacts that weren’t British at all so I think I covered quite a good bit that I’m interested in.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

St. Paul’s Cathedral on Millennium Bridge. It’s insanely lavish when you stand before it, towering over you with its intricate details and grand presence. I kept turning back to look at it because it’s just too beautiful when I was heading over to Borough Market.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

The London Eye. Well, to be honest I think the Singapore Flyer kind of spoiled this one for me. I can’t seem to remove that image from my mind, but it’s still amazing to see it with my own eyes – the real life inspiration for my home city, sans the cooling weather. Still beautiful.

Processed with VSCO

The beauty in itself. I think I subconsciously came to London just for this one landmark alone – Big Ben, which isn’t so big in all honesty, but big enough symbolically to represent “all” that is London. I was in awe staring at it because I really didn’t think I’d ever see something like this with my own eyes, when all this was just colour printed on glossy paper. But here you are, staring up at the splendid structure so utterly famous it was crowded with tourists left, right, centre.

I’m reminded of V for Vendetta – what it would have been if it did explode before your eyes but that’s only confined to green screens and visual effects.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Walking down busy streets: I pretty much walked everywhere and all day really, to save fares on my Oyster card. Also it helped that I planned my itinerary geographically and everywhere in Central London is relatively nearby to each other (about half and hour to an hour’s walk, but hey more to see).

London sure is bustling, nothing new from Singapore but still so different. The weather, the sights/scenery, the people, the food, the atmosphere. You’d get caught up in the whirlwind of enjoying life, if you’re lucky really.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

I bit the bullet and walked the streets at night as well. Though I wouldn’t really recommend it, I just had to (but was wary and cautious the whole way). London sure is different at night at differing parts of the city. In the daytime Oxford Street is a shopper’s paradise, but at night it’s all glowing advertisements and empty streets. While peaceful, the element of danger is still present but lucky me nothing happened. I was prepared to run, on the safe side.

But that aside…

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

This place. I adore this place. The Natural History Museum of London, brimming with so many exhibits of animals, plants, rocks/stones, fossils, earth, people and different time periods. I spent a good four hours here but still couldn’t cover everything I wanted but was immensely satisfied with dinosaur exhibits, taxidermised animals and fossils of prehistoric creatures. I’d live here if I could, no kidding.

I spent most of my time in London alone (since no one came with me) but where’s the fun in that? Through Couchsurfing I managed to meet up with some people (I wonder why they were all guys, but that didn’t really bother me) and they are truly interesting and genuine characters who were so nice as to spare me their time and conversations, and offer me cups of coffee as well. It was lovely meeting up with them and talking about anything and everything really, recounting our lives, the fun things we did, the adventures we had – really hope to meet with them again.

But I need to get my shit together first.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

The triple M squad, from left to right: Marco, me and Mark, who I didn’t really plan on meeting together but things happened to fall into place and we all met up for dinner and had fine chats about work, life, and all the fun bits in between.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Initially we were supposed to grab Mexican food, recommended by le foodie Marco, but the place was closed for a party but we headed down the street to this pizza place that was PACKED. But somehow because we were three people (three’s a crowd they say), we got our table before couples (who were waiting around for their private tables). Fantastic luck and fantastic food as well – this whole pizza (bigger and wider than my fat head) only cost me £7 (SGD$14) and it was so good – fresh out of the oven with melted cheese and melt-in-your-mouth ham and tomato sauce… Ugh.

Yeah I got fat after London. I’m not gonna lie. I conceded my fitness levels have indeed fallen and I’ve gained weight / lost muscle, but I still retain my strength so… I guess this is the tradeoff?

It was a great night though (: Really nice to have company and make new friends (who are interested in the one thing you are in too: FOOD). I wonder what gastronomical delights the next few weeks will bring :9

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

One of the days in London. Trying to walk off the pounds, but sadly weight isn’t lost as easily as the financial currency. I was surprised how sunny London was when I was there, except for the last few days before I left where it poured. Well, I’d like to think I’ve grown accustomed to England weather and come to love the grey skies.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Outside King’s Cross Station where I checked out Platform 9 3/4 – far too touristy and too many people queueing up for a shot with the trolley going into Hogwarts for me, so skipped it and just wandered around the area instead.

These are things I can happily avoid.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Honest Burgers. Last meal before heading back to Exeter. SO GOOD. Although the caramelized onions was a little too overpowering for my inexperienced palate, the meat was so tender and juicy, and the fries were generous and crispy – down to the last piece when I practically devoured my plate. I didn’t get to try Shake Shack or Five Guys cause… you know I still try to maintain my figure and my stomach has a capacity after delicious and filling market eats. But they’ll be things I’d definitely go back for, as the people ^^

Processed with VSCO with acg preset

Back in James Owen Court. I don’t know if this was meant to be an artistic shot or I lost it for a second, but something about this sight captured my attention and I had to grab it. Maybe it’s knowing that things never really changed much even though I left for almost a week.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Going for a run in the countryside. Though my stamina is considerably weaker, Exeter is flat and such a beaut to run through.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

This was a long time ago, but visited a farm with Mandy. It was beautiful, knowing that the countryside is just a 20 minute drive from the University – and it is glorious.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Then came the bouldering competitions, the ones I went for even though I didn’t train AT ALL for them because I ran off to London. One was pre-planned, I asked if I could join that competition (and I was asked by the Boulder Sec before if I could compete for the University) so I knew that was coming. It was at Sheffield’s TCA and it was good fun. Unlimited tries, but just trying to score as many points as possible in the 20 so routes they provided.

I found that pretty all right – within my ability range sans the few that were really out of my zone. Overall it was still fun, but then Thursday night came and I was asked if I would like to replace someone who dropped out of an upcoming competition last Saturday. Unprepared, but sure why not. Nobody told me it was the LUBE or London Universities Bouldering Event, which was pretty prestigious in my eyes. These routes were more challenging but still immensely fun.

I surprised myself quite a bit during these competitions. I think bodily I’ve grown more aware of my capabilities and limitations – like there were routes I knew I could do, just required different betas and multiple attempts to get that a certain move when I wasn’t slipping or falling off the wall. Flashed a V5 which surprised me because I’m normally within a V2-V3 range, but that one was interesting and didn’t feel very hard at all.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

This is cool. Why can’t Singapore have this?

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Overhanging lead wall. Also cool, and super colourful.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Attempting barefoot and being all action for my Instagram shot hahah, but really I’m hopeless without my chalk and my shoes. Chronic perspiration will be my downfall.

Processed with VSCO

Poser.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

But now the storm brews and I really need to focus on academia rather than stave off and think about climbing, Europe… I’ve got one last essay to complete and exams to study for (I know, I know, who studies while on exchange? Well I realised I’m not happy with minimal effort and borderline-pass-shitty results so I STUDY).

Sadly. Not my best effort as I will put in back in NTU, but it’s enough for me here.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

And of course, more food hahah. Salmon is considerably cheap here compared to Singapore so… spam the fatty fish!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

And a lovely dinner made for us by Quyhnnhu – vermicelli, fried Vietnamese spring rolls and fresh veggies. Her friends and her also shared with us some traditional folk dances in the UK which was eye-opening. Culture sure can be colourful and interesting, and it makes me wonder should I join dance in my final year hahah

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset And so, my adventure ends. Only for now. One last essay to complete, but even that has to wait cause this weekend I’m technically packed with a 10K mud race in a few hours’ time and a flatmate dinner on Sunday. Then after that, need to plan accommodation and what to see in Europe (transportation all planned, and I realise I only have 1-3 days for each city).

What have I gotten myself into? No idea – time to run. Allez.

Heel hook and mantle.

Outside of NTU’s Bouldermania, SPRC’s Rockmaster 2015 is my second competition of the few (very few) years I have been climbing since I began in Year 1, the first being NUS Boulderactive earlier this year. Somehow I know I improved, and I know I can do better but I guess I don’t train enough (both time and effort wise, brutal honesty) to fight muscle fatigue, lactic acid buildup and mental barriers as well as condition the mind and body awareness.

Sadly, this would be my last competition for this year, and for a while since I’ll be away for exchange so I can kiss SMU Gravical goodnight next January. But I don’t dwell on this, rather I look forward to stellar new climbs in a whole new environment (natural rock excursions every weekend? SURE WHY NOT BLASPHEMY IF I DON’T).

But today was fun overall, despite skipping classes to partake and watch competitions. I am screwed academically but this is a once in a lifetime chance so why not?

Easy la easy

Topped first route – Not too hard, slightly technical when it came to the roof part, still had loads of energy during this time

Route 6.

Third route I attempted. Got the bonus but bombed the final dynamic move where I had swung my body but not enough to firmly grasp the ending tile (which was a beautiful jug omfg wasted). When I tried again at the end I was far too shag to even start properly. Really wasted, could have topped this (and maybe proceed to finals???)

In total, topped 3 routes and scored 2 bonuses on others. It was enough to propel me up to 16th position, tied with may others but I’m still pleased. Didn’t train much since recess week, NATGAT and all, but was still going strong despite inclined walls and technical routes. Competitions are immensely good fun, when you train harder for them of course.

Back to the wall.

UMC NW ladies

NTU UMC NW ladies. Congrats to the two finalists Amanda and Elyse. They totally deserve it given their hard training. PROMOTE LOOOOO.

UMC love

And major love from NTU UMC climbers who came down to support us this early on despite their NM competition being later. They helped me take my climbing photos above (non-official) and even record one video. So much love to them and their encouragement ♥

Nyoom.

And a huge ass surprise when I was rummaging through my bag to find my wallet to join the others when they were going to eat. Imagine being scooped up from behind and squished by that special someone in your life – I screamed lol. Pretty sure the whole place heard me but yes, he came to support me (albeit after my detail ended) but the intention nonetheless ♥♥♥ After eating with the rest we chilled and slacklined for a bit (or at least I attempted to) before going around nearby spots in SP and buildered around the area before he left for afternoon classes. (:

Blessed am I to have my own cheerleader, as I am his too.

Watched the UMC NM compete before heading back to NTU to pack and depart for calisthenics. Was a very short and not-so-intensive hour but we were starving afterwards so we headed to Rangoon Road’s Jewel Cafe and Bar to have some after-training eats. The truffle fries were amazing, and the cesar salad and hot chocolate weren’t half-bad either.

Indeed, today has been a (relatively) good day. (: In my vanity I look forward to good-looking official climbing photos hahahahha, though that may be a shortstop – I look even angrier when I’m climbing apparently. All the more seriousness.

TRUFFLE FRIESSSS

Eat well, rest well, be well.

Train hard, climb hard, food hard. Allez.